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Indie Mixtape 20: With ‘Milk For Flowers,’ H. Hawkline Shares His Most Touching Work To Date

It’s been nearly six years since we last got a solo album from H. Hawkline, the moniker of UK musician Huw Evans. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy in the time since. He’s been touring with Aldous Harding, collaborating with Cate Le Bon (who produced his latest effort) and translating his quiet ruminations into song for his fifth studio album, Milk For Flowers.

Milk For Flowers, out Friday via Heavenly Recordings, stands as Hawkline’s most intimate and touching work to date. Songs like “Empty Room” touch on themes of grief and loneliness underscored a longing slide guitar, while others like the upbeat piano ballad “Milk For Flowers” and “Plastic Man” juxtapose lyrics about loss with a jaunty rhythm. “I’m not so good at showing vulnerability and I think that’s why, in the past, there’s been a tendency to obscure or make abstract any real emotion, either lyrically or musically,” Evans said in a statement. “It was impossible to do any of those things with this album: I had to sing.”

Ahead of his album Milk For Flowers, H. Hawkline talks friendly strangers, Jockstrap (the band), and making the most of life in our latest Q&A.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

Square peg, round hole.

It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?

Like a useful man.

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?

I played in Caracas recently in Devendra Banhart’s band, it was pretty special and I doubt I’ll ever get to play there again. There and Newcastle.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?

Newcastle Travel Lodge, UK.

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

It’s all the people all the time, there was an old lady on the bus once who told me her entire life story whilst slowly stealing my coffee. People like that.

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

Marcello’s in Cardiff, a molten hot pasta bake called a ‘James Bowman’ (all the dishes were named after classical composers and singers), garlic bread and a can of coke.

What album do you know every word to?

Abbey Road.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci in Venue Cymru in Llandudno when I was 16.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

A silk dressing gown, it’s comfortable, chic, has a good silhouette and is easy to put on.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

Mestre Ensinador on Instagram, I think he’s Brazilian, he has a puppet, it dances, he ticks all my boxes. I also like the usual stuff, cats knocking things over, children getting hurt, any kind of video that involves the restoration of something that looks beyond repair, all the mindless junk that rots your brain. Twitter is just pure hell, I don’t know why I do it to myself.

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?

It changes every tour. I remember once a friend in Glasgow made us a compilation for the van and the first song on it was “You Got It’ by Roy Orbison and we listened to it about 15 times, the CD had to be taken away from me in the end, I lost it.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

“10x10cm cream tiles.”

What album makes for the perfect gift?

Melody Nelson by Serge Gainsbourg.

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

At the minute, Jockstrap. I was also listening to the radio in the bath earlier tonight and Jessica Pratt came on and it was a nice moment.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

Give birth to me and then love me every day, I was lucky.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

Make the most of it, kiddo.

What’s the last show you went to?

Tim Presley singing karaoke at Giant Rock in Landers, he sang “Big Iron” by Marty Robbins, at one point I looked out the window and saw a coyote with a tear in his eye.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

Alien, if it’s on, it stays on. I watch it every Christmas. I think I watched it for the first time when I was 9, it was the Christmas holidays, I was allowed to stay up late, maybe my parents had friends over, I can remember switching through all 4 channels, I got to channel 4 and the announcer said “Next on Channel 4, Ridley Scot’s 1979 sci fi classic, Alien.” And I thought “Hmmmm, that sounds cool.” I knew by the end of the titles that it was going to be terrifying but I watched it anyway. The first half hour is so calm and cosy and then… chestbuster. For the rest of the film I would switch channels every time it got too scary. My dream house would look like the kitchen on the Nostromo.

What’s one of your hidden talents?

I’m not a terrible hairdresser.

Milk For Flowers is out 3/10 via Heavenly. Find more information here.